Improving taxi service: A statement from Mayor Nenshi

Post Date: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
City Hall 

It’s no secret in Calgary: taxi service in our city must get better. While we generally have a safe and reliable system, we've heard from Calgarians time and time again that our taxi system needs improvement. Taxis need to be available when and where we need them. But our regulatory regime has not been able to make this happen as well as it should.

Today, your City Council took a significant step toward improving taxi service in Calgary. Here are a few highlights:
  • First, Council authorized the issue of 55 new accessible taxi plate licenses to eligible drivers. These include a number of performance conditions, including that the holder of the plate personally drives a minimum of 981 hours per year and that these plates be in service between 10pm and 4am on Friday and Saturday nights. 
  • Second, Council approved performance benchmarks to reinforce reasonable levels of taxi service. In the past, Council approved a certain number of cab licenses issued based on a ratio to Calgary’s population, but did not really enforce when and how these cabs would be in service. This hasn't worked as well as it should to create consistent and reasonable service. A benchmark for acceptable service means The City will be able to ensure that cabs are in use when customers need them. 
  • Third, The City will rely much more on data for good regulation. We will require that industry share vehicle GPS and other data from existing taxi meters so that The City can determine if the plates are in use when they are supposed to be in use. This data will also be a great resource to Council for making good future decisions about the taxi industry including whether more taxis are actually required on city streets. 
  • Fourth, The City will hire two additional taxi inspectors and a data analyst to monitor compliance. These new positions will be covered by a modest increase to license fees. 
  • And, fifth, Council approved the introduction of stiff penalties for non-compliance with licensing conditions such as when a plate must be in operation to serve customers. 
An important result of these changes will be better data for Council so we can make better decisions to improve taxi access and availability for Calgarians. Smart benchmarks, measurement, and enforcement will ensure that the taxi industry will provide a higher level of service.

It’s reasonable for Calgarians to expect a high-quality and reliable taxi service as a transportation option in Calgary. Today, we’ve taken a major step to ensure that.

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi